Menendez, Booker Laud Inclusion of Monmouth County in Federal Drug Prevention Program

Menendez, Booker Laud Inclusion of Monmouth County in Federal Drug Prevention Program

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) lauded the expansion of the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program to include Monmouth County, which has experienced a sharp rise in both heroin and opioid use and trafficking.  The designation will allow Monmouth County to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, state, local law enforcement officials.

Monmouth County will also receive $125,000 in federal funding to support a team led by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office consisting of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), local law enforcement and other partners to focus on opioid- and heroin-related investigations and outreach.

“Too many lives have been lost and too many families ripped apart by heroin addiction and opioid abuse, and it will take a unified effort from law enforcement, the medical community, addiction treatment providers, and individual families to tackle New Jersey’s burgeoning crisis,” said Sen. Menendez.  “Expanding this important designation will give Monmouth County access to federal resources to help stem the tide and save lives from the perils of heroin and prescription opioid overdose.”

"Opioid addiction has taken a devastating toll on our nation and continues to tear individuals, families and communities apart across New Jersey,” said Sen. Booker.  “The key to finding a long-term solution to this crisis is by implementing a holistic approach that includes all levels of government.  I was proud to advocate for the expansion of this critical program into Monmouth County at a time when they need it most in order to provide federal resources on the ground and more effectively coordinate efforts to address this epidemic.”

In March, Sens. Menendez and Booker met with NY/NJ HIDTA officials at a statewide opioid summit the lawmakers convened.  In August, the senators also hosted a panel discussion with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health David Shulkin at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston on the heroin and opioid addiction crisis in New Jersey.

“I am grateful for the attention this widespread epidemic is getting with this designation. The federal funding recognizes the complexity of the drug problem in and around Monmouth County and is a welcome addition to our law enforcement efforts – a great force multiplier with our federal partners in our fight against prescription pill and heroin abuse,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Heroin overdose deaths in Monmouth County more than tripled in recent years from 20 reported cases in 2010 to 68 in 2014, according to the New Jersey State Medical Examiner’s Office.

According to data collected in 2015 by the New Jersey State Police-Drug Monitoring Initiative, Monmouth County ranked second in New Jersey in marijuana cases, second in the state in prescription pill cases, third in cocaine cases, and fourth in heroin cases. Monmouth also ranks sixth in the state for deployments of the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

HIDTA was created by Congress through the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, and provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.